From the Braver Institute
Years ago when I was working for my family’s trucking company the other guys in the office and I would try to win radio contests. We were rather successful at it and the fact that we won a trip to the Bahamas was a testament to that.
Winning that trip was not a good thing for me.
I really wanted to go, but I knew that I could not go for two reasons. The first was that I couldn’t afford to take the time off of work and the second and perhaps most important reason is that if I had gone to the Bahamas, there is a better than good chance that I would never have returned.
Ever since I first heard Bobby Bloom singing about Montego Bay, I had dreamt of life on a Caribbean island (a South Pacific island would work just as well, I’m not picky). Becoming a Jimmy Buffett fan in my teens didn’t help matters any.
The idea of a never-ending summer, living in a grass shack on the beach, in the land of rum and fruit juices to accompany it, was all too appealing.
Fast forward to the present day.
Here it is. The heart of winter. The most useless time of the year for me. Try as I might to find some way to enjoy it, I cannot. Winter for me is little more than a series of days that will bring either cold and nothing to do, or cold and nothing to do with a helping of snow shoveling on top of that, which is technically something to do but somehow doesn’t seem to count as such.
This winter I have decided that I have had enough. I have decided that I am going to finally get away from the season that keeps me from enjoying outdoor life year-round. I have decided that I am moving to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Goodbye sub-zero numbness. I have dealt with you for far too many years and I want to live out the rest of my days in temperatures that require me to wear shorts and polo shirts all year long.
Why St. Croix, you ask? St. Croix is the least touristy of the U.S. Virgin Islands which is something that is better suited to handle the likes of me as opposed to the islands of St. John and St. Thomas. Since these islands are U.S. territories there are no issues with passports and visas. I can simply arrive one day and remain there until I decide to leave. It is as simple as that.
Of course I realize that living in a grass shack on the beach isn’t going to happen, but that never was the true appeal of my perceived island life anyway.
People have said to me “but Braver, I am sure that island living is an isolated, lonely existence” to which I reply “and how is that any different than the isolated, lonely existence I am living now?” The only difference I can see is that it would be a warm, isolated, lonely existence with golf and sailing all year long.
Just thinking about it all makes me want to sell all of my earthly possessions and make the move later this afternoon, but alas I cannot.
I cannot leave my daughters. I could not bear the thought of not being here as they grow up. Watching them make the transformation from children to young ladies trumps all of my tropical paradise plans. For them I will tough out the winters. For them I will shovel the snow. For them I will go outside, scrape the ice off of the windows and warm up the car before taking them to school.
Reality has a way of slamming the door on dreams, but let me tell you this: though my daughters are the best thing that ever happened to me, the moment they are both eighteen I am on my way to the airport with my golf clubs and a ticket to St. Croix in my hand.
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